Maryknoll missioners have served in Nepal for many years; currently, Fr. Joe Thaler lives and works in Kathmandu. For five months now, Fr. Joe has been helping the people of Nepal recover from devastating earthquakes and aftershocks. Following is Fr. Joe’s update:
(Scroll to the bottom of the page to download the 3-page PDF flyer with more photos.)
"This is the monsoon season in Nepal. The heavy rains can produce floods and mudslides, which are an even higher risk now because of the terrible earthquakes we had last spring.
Yet, we know God is with us—and so are you—as we minister to the people left homeless, injured, orphaned, and grieving for their dead. Thanks to you and every donor who prayed with us and made a special gift for Nepal, we are rebuilding and restoring hope.
Life in Bhimtar village is a good example of the role you are playing in Nepal’s recovery. Bhimtar is where over 900 of the town’s 1,200 homes were totally destroyed. So our first priority was providing food and water for the most vulnerable.
Then villagers formed themselves into groups for mutual support and to receive the construction materials we were able to provide thanks to your generosity. The rains are making it difficult to frame out the homes, but each day, people do what they can. They are a living lesson in just how determined the Nepalese are to overcoming their personal tragedies and the pain of a nation.
Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers have a reputation in Nepal for getting things done. So in several districts, officials have asked us to help with the rebuilding of schools. Right now teachers are making do, in some cases conducting class outdoors or in temporary space.
With your help, Maryknoll is providing construction materials, desks, chairs, computers, and pipes for water and toilets. I wish you could see the enthusiasm on the faces of the children. They are so happy to be back!
As the rebuilding continues, people are also returning to work when possible. Among the missions that Maryknoll supports are income-producing projects; like mushroom growing, composting, vermiculture, and briquette making. These businesses are mostly back on track, providing people with some badly needed security. Our partner, the Trans-Himalayan Environment and Livelihood Program, has done an outstanding job of supporting these efforts.
Another Maryknoll-funded mission that has returned is our 10-month sewing program for the differently-abled. Students learn sewing skills as well as accounting and literacy. One of our teachers, Govinda, who is a graduate of the program and almost died in the first quake, was adamant that we resume classes immediately. I love his passion! By July we had 15 students enrolled and classes began as scheduled.
People always want to know how I cope with the suffering and destruction of the past six months. Yes, there have been difficult moments. But for me, it comes down to this: the presence of God as reflected in the spirit of the Nepalese people.
A note I received from a friend shortly after the first quake explains it best:
“God will weave millions of graces, blessings, and miracles into that deep sadness and destruction to create a new tapestry of life, meaning, and purpose in the years to come.”
I believe with all my heart that the threads of our new tapestry are being woven into place, blessed by God and by your prayers and gifts. We are all so grateful."
-- Father Joe Thaler, M.M.
Thank you for giving generously and for sharing your mission spirit with the children and families of Nepal. They need us now, more than ever. Please continue to pray for the people of Nepal. To make your secure donation online click here.